Sealing grout & tile

When I finished my subway tile backsplash, I sealed the tile so that food and other grime would easily wipe off and not stain my brand-new white grout.  The process was so easy that I decided I wanted to seal the grout & tile in my upstairs shower.  Of course, to do so meant that I needed to deep clean the shower to prep it– something that I put off for a long time.

If you’re sealing newly-laid tile, you can go ahead and just seal it.  If you’re sealing existing tile, make sure you clean it first.  Otherwise you’re just going to seal in the grout stains.

Here’s what you need:

  • Grout & tile sealer (I bought THIS at Home Depot, jut make sure you buy a sealer for the appropriate kind of tile– mine was porcelain tile)
  • Large sponge (I just reused my tiling grout sponge)

What to do:

1. Deep clean your tile.  I ended up using: 1 tablespoon TSP (Trisodium Phosphate, you can buy this at any home improvement store) and 1 gallon hot water.  I used a non-scratching scrubbing pad I bought at Walmart and scrubbed each and every tile.  Soap scum is gross.

2. Deep clean your grout.  Use a 3 to 1 mixture of baking soda to bleach and scrub the grout with an old toothbrush or grout scrubber.

3. Rinse and wipe down everything.

4. Towel dry and let it air dry for a couple of hours.

5. Pour some grout sealer on your sponge and run down and across each grout line.  Work in sections.  When you’ve covered every line, rub the sealer over all the tiles too.  To see that the sealer got into the grout, you should notice the grout turn a littler darker– like it’s wet.

6. Wait 5-15 minutes (depending on your sealer– read the label!) and repeat.

7. Dry-wipe the tiles and give it 24-48 hours to cure.

There isn’t really a dramatic before & after, but the process of sealing should really help.  Remember that tiles requires cleaning, and after enough cleanings the sealer is going to break down.  I believe they recommend that you apply sealer every 6 months.

Have you been working on any bathroom projects lately?

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